The Chat Customer Experience Will Always Be Rote, Cold and Unsatisfactory. True or False?

Online Chat Customer Experience Myra GoldenThe way your Customer Service Representatives handle your online chat customer support can make or break your reputation with customers.

There are dozens of mistakes with the chat customer experience many new and even experienced Reps make that put your corporate reputation at risk.

The mistake we are going to address in this article is one of the deadliest mistakes. So many customer service representatives approach chat customer support in a transactional manner, almost like a simple ATM transaction. I’m here to tell you your customers hate that approach.

When I started studying best practices for the online chat customer experience in 2008, I remember listening to a consultant explain that the chat customer experience was designed to be quick and to deflect calls from the company’s toll-free number. The consultant explained that answers to customers needed to be short and succinct and that there was no time for personal connection with customers over chat. I thought that was nuts since I’d just had an amazing online chat experience with a QVC customer service rep the weekend before.

In 2008 I chatted with a QVC Customer Service Representative about the status of a product return. I simply wanted to confirm that my return was received, but I walked away from the chat session with a Beyond WOW reaction. The WOW started with this message from the Representative:

“Ms. Golden, I’m so sorry the Canon Vixia HV30 MiniDV HD Camcorder hasn’t been processed as of yet.  I know you’re anxious to have this completed.  The return processing time can take up to 17 days from the date an order is returned to QVC.  I hope your item is processed soon.”

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4 important things happened here.

  1. The Representative addressed me by name. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference. Taking the time to address customers by name in a chat conversation is an easy way to establish rapport and set the tone for a great discussion.
  2. An apology was offered. A sincere, well-timed apology can disarm an angry customer and demonstrate that the company truly cares about customers. While I wasn’t upset, the apology did result in a warm feeling.
  3. Empathy was brilliantly used to relate and establish rapport. The best thing about this chat conversation for me was the fact that the Representative “Related and Responded.” It was as if she put herself in my shoes and thought about how she’d feel if her $900 credit hadn’t yet appeared on her credit card. I definitely was anxious to have my money refunded. She related to me and responded: “I know you’re anxious to have this completed.“
  4. The session ended on positive and sincere note. You’re certainly welcome, my pleasure! Have a wonderful day and please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime, we’re always glad to help.” I smiled as I read the last communication from the Representative. I felt that she actually enjoyed speaking with me.

So, now you tell me, does online customer service chat have to be rote, cold or unsatisfactory?

If your answer is no, then you’ve been paying good attention and can start right now delivering the best possible online chat customer experience, an experience that is laced with warmth and personal connection.

Bonus tip – The 4 techniques used by QVC work in emails too. One of the best ways to consistently connect with customers over chat is to get good at the personal connection in email, phone, and every contact channel.

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